Part 2 out of 8
in his ability to write for publication, though indeed it had been
proved that the outcome of his first venture along this line had not
after all destroyed the budding hopes of the young writer. For previous
to entering college he had continued to make contributions to the
_Gazette_. Other compositions in both prose and verse were now sent at
various times to the Portland periodical; and in October, 1824, appeared
in a Boston magazine entitled _The United States Literary Gazette_ the
first of a series of seventeen poems composed by _H. W. L._
A constant sympathizer and admirer during these early years of
authorship was Henry's friend William Browne, a boy whose literary
aspirations had led him to form with Henry, before the latter entered
Bowdoin, a sort of association by which various literary enterprises
were attempted. Indeed, it seems probable that at this time Henry
looked rather to such companions than to his parents for appreciation
of his developing ability. At all events, we find him writing to his
father in March, 1824:
"I feel very glad that I am not to be a physician--that there are quite
enough in the world without me. And now, as somehow or other this
subject has been introduced, I am curious to know what you do intend to
make of me--whether I am to study a profession or not; and if so, what
profession. I hope your ideas upon this subject will agree with mine,
for I have a particular and strong prejudice for one course of life, to
which you, I fear, will not agree. It will not be worth while for me to
mention what this is, until I become more acquainted with your own
Later, however, urged by the unpleasant prospect of being compelled to
obey his father's desire that he become a lawyer, Henry decided that he
must express his own hopes quite plainly. In a letter of December,
1824, appears the passage:
"The fact is--and I will not disguise it in the least, for I think I
ought not--the fact is, I most eagerly aspire after future eminence in
literature; my whole soul burns most ardently for it, and every earthly
thought centers in it. There may be something visionary in this, but I
flatter myself that I have prudence enough to keep my enthusiasm from
defeating its own object by too great haste. Surely, there never was a
better opportunity offered for the exertion of literary talent in our
own country than is now offered. To be sure, most of our literacy men
thus far have not been professedly so, until they have studied and
entered the practice of theology, law, or medicine. But this is
evidently lost time. I do believe that we ought to pay more attention
to the opinion of philosophers, that 'nothing but Nature can qualify a
man for knowledge.'
"Whether Nature has given me any capacity for knowledge or not, she has
at any rate given me a very strong predilection for literary pursuits,
and I am almost confident in believing that, if I can ever rise in the
world, it must be by the exercise of my talent in the wide field of
literature. With such a belief, I must say that I am unwilling to
engage in the study of the law."
Nevertheless, Stephen Longfellow was not convinced by his son's words
of the wisdom of the course proposed, and at length replied in no
uncertain terms: "A literary life, to one who has the means of support,
must be very pleasant. But there is not wealth enough in this country
to afford encouragement and patronage to merely literary men. And as
you have not had the fortune (I will not say whether good or ill) to be
born rich, you must adopt a profession which will afford you
subsistence as well as reputation." In the same letter, however, he
granted willingly Henry's request to be allowed a year at Cambridge for
the study of general literature. In response, the young student, after
thanking his father for the privilege of the proposed attendance at
Cambridge, writes: "Nothing delights me more than reading and writing.
And nothing could induce me to relinquish the pleasures of literature,
little as I have yet tasted them. Of the three professions I should
prefer the law. I am far from being a fluent speaker, but practice must
serve as a talisman where talent is wanting. I can be a lawyer. This
will support my real existence, literature an _ideal_ one."
Henry's career at Bowdoin was now drawing to a close, and it is likely
that like most other students he regarded his graduation with some
degree of regret. For in addition to the deeper pleasure that he had
gained from his studies, he had found not a little enjoyment in the
social life at the college. His handsome appearance made him an
attractive figure at all gatherings; and his amiability and courtesy
caused him to be as well liked by the young women whom he met on these
occasions as by his classmates. In fact, the unusual refinement
expressed by his clear, fair complexion, the sincerity reflected in his
blue eyes, with their steadfast gaze, and the erect bearing of his
slender figure, won confidence and admiration everywhere.
Whatever anxiety Henry Longfellow may have felt in looking forward to
the period that lay beyond his graduation from Bowdoin College was
wholly cleared away by a most surprising event that occurred at the
time of the closing exercises. A gift of money had been made to the
college for the purpose of founding a Professorship of the Modern
Languages, and it was now decided to establish this position. It is
said that one of the trustees of the college who had been very
favorably impressed by Henry Longfellow's translation of an ode of
Horace, proposed that he be appointed to the new office. As a result,
it was made known to the young graduate that if he would prepare
himself by a period of study in Europe, the professorship would be his
This unexpected good fortune was so gratifying to Henry's parents as
well as to himself that they decided at once to send him abroad at
their own expense. However, the plan could not be immediately carried
out; it was necessary to wait several months for a favorable sailing
season. The period of delay Henry spent partly in the composition of
various articles and poems, and partly in studying law. At length, when
spring was well advanced, he set sail from New York and a month later
reached the French city of Havre. Then began the period of three years
spent in travel through France, Spain, Italy and Germany, during which
he gave himself diligently to the study of the languages and
literatures of these countries and to extensive observation of manners
and customs, works of art, points of historic interest and to all else
that is of value to an eager, open-minded student. Thus he imbibed much
of the national spirit of these lands and came into such vital
appreciation of this spirit as it is expressed in literature that later
he was able to become a most successful translator and to use foreign
legends with excellent effect in his own compositions.
During his second year abroad, in the midst of most satisfactory
progress, Henry received from his father the startling news that
Bowdoin College had withdrawn the offer of the professorship. The
mingled feelings thus awakened, and especially the reserve strength of
the young man's character, are made plain in his reply:
"I assure you, my dear father, I am very indignant at this. They say I
am too young! Were they not aware of this three years ago? If I am not
capable of performing the duties of the office, they may be very sure
of my not accepting it. I know not in what light they may look upon it,
but for my own part, I do not in the least regard it as a favor
conferred upon me. It is no sinecure; and if my services are an
equivalent for my salary, there is no favor done me; if they be not, I
do not desire the situation. . . . I feel no kind of anxiety for my
future prospects. Thanks to your goodness, I have received a good
education. I know you cannot be dissatisfied with the progress I have
made in my studies. I speak honestly, not boastingly. With the French
and Spanish languages I am familiarly conversant, so as to speak them
correctly, and write them with as much ease and fluency as I do the
English. The Portuguese I read without difficulty. And with regard to
my proficiency in the Italian, I have only to say that all at the hotel
where I lodge took me for an Italian until I told them I was an
Nevertheless, when Henry returned to Portland in the summer of 1829, he
received the appointment to the desired professorship at Bowdoin
College, and went to live at Brunswick. His success was assured from
the start, for he had thoroughly prepared himself for his work, was
enthusiastic in his desire to share with his classes the impressions
received from the culture of the Old World, and was so young in years
and at heart that he could readily awaken the interest and sympathy of
youthful students. The earnestness and industry with which he devoted
himself to his duties at this time may be judged from the following
extract from a letter dated June 27, 1830:
"I rise at six in the morning, and hear a French recitation of
Sophomores immediately. At seven I breakfast, and am then master of my
time till eleven, when I hear a Spanish lesson of Juniors. After that I
take a lunch; and at twelve I go into the library, where I remain till
one. I am then at leisure for the afternoon till five, when I have a
French recitation of Juniors. At six, I take coffee; then walk and
visit friends till nine; study till twelve, and sleep till six, when I
begin the same round again. Such is the daily routine of my life. The
intervals of college duty I fill up with my own studies. Last term I
was publishing text-books for the use of my pupils, in whom I take a
deep interest. This term I am writing a course of lectures on French,
Spanish and Italian literature. I shall commence lecturing to the two
upper classes in a few days. You see, I lead a very sober, jog-trot
kind of life. My circle of acquaintances is very limited. I am on very
intimate terms with three families, and that is quite enough. I like
intimate footings; I do not care for general society."
In the following year (1831) the routine of his life at Brunswick was
interrupted by his marriage with Mary Storer Potter, one of the most
beautiful and generally liked young women of Portland. Her education
and tastes were such that they enabled her to share heartily her
husband's interests, and this sympathetic association in the work to
which he was devoted seemed to fill the measure of the young
During the years spent in teaching at Bowdoin the career of Henry
Longfellow as a professional writer had run parallel with that of
teaching. In response to an invitation he had contributed various prose
articles to the _North American Review_ had written some poetry, and by
1835 had completed his _Outre-Mer_, a collection of prose sketches of
Not long before the publication of this work the author had received a
most desirable offer of the Smith professorship of Modern Languages at
Harvard University, with a salary of fifteen hundred dollars a year. In
accepting the position the young man decided upon a trip abroad for the
purpose of further study. Accordingly, with his wife he set sail for
Hamburg in June, 1835. They stayed for a short time in London, where
they met Carlyle, traveled then to Stockholm and Copenhagen, where the
summer was passed in learning the Swedish and Danish languages, and in
October reached Amsterdam. Here Mrs. Longfellow fell ill, and while she
was recovering her husband undertook the study of Dutch. In Rotterdam
Mrs. Longfellow again became ill, and died in that city on October 29.
The loss fell so heavily upon Longfellow that he could not speak nor
write of it. However, he disciplined himself to work and spent several
months at Heidelberg, gaining a fuller knowledge of the German language
and literature. In this city he met for the first time the poet Bryant.
After traveling in Switzerland he returned to America late in 1836.
At the close of the same year he established himself at Cambridge, and
there began a career of large usefulness and success at Harvard
University. At the same time he wrote extensively both prose and verse,
and by the time of his third visit to Europe, in 1842, had produced the
prose romance _Hyperion_ as well as the volumes of verse entitled
_Voices of the Night_ and _Ballads and Other Poems_ and the drama _The
At this period of his life, Longfellow's journals and letters show much
unrest and even at times a loss of interest in his work. His trip
abroad for his health did not restore the satisfaction and contentment
that he had once known. The needs of both heart and mind must be
supplied in order that he might be at peace. Consequently we are not
surprised by his marriage, in July, 1843, to Frances Appleton, the
heroine of the romance _Hyperion_, and a most admirable and attractive
young woman, fitted in every way to be the companion of the poet. The
couple went to live in the Craigie House [Footnote: This house is
celebrated not only as the poet's home but as having been at one time
the headquarters of Washington.] at Cambridge, and entered upon a life
of almost ideal domestic harmony.
Year after year passed, with little to mar the calm of the Longfellow
home. The professor's days were filled with lectures to the college
classes, with composition of original verse or translation from foreign
literature and with letter writing, answers to unnumbered requests for
autographs and calls from distinguished persons or from obscure but
aspiring writers. Only a man of rare patience and kindness would have
given such a great portion of his time as Longfellow gave during these
and all the subsequent years of his life to answering the many
inexcusable and often ridiculous requests for explanation of the
motives and meaning of his writings, for help in obtaining public
recognition, for criticism of poems that the writers submitted and for
a variety of other favors.
Often there were visits to the opera or attendance at concerts, always
in company with Mrs. Longfellow. Sometimes the day was darkened by the
illness of one of the children. Then again, with the little ones of the
household, the Harvard professor, casting aside his dignity, with all
serious cares, would enter with all, his heart into some childish game.
Such a good time did he have that he found it worth while to make in
his journal such entries as: "Worked hard with the children, making
snow-houses in the front yard, to their infinite delight;" "After
dinner had all the children romping in the haymow;" "Coasted with my
boys (Charles and Ernest) for two hours on the bright hill-side behind
the Catholic Church;" "After tea, read to the boys the Indian story of
_The Red Swan._" Frequently he accompanied on pleasure excursions
his three daughters, the young girls described for us in the familiar
"Grave Alice and laughing Allegra
And Edith with golden hair."
From time to time the journal records an idea for a poem or the
beginning of the work of composition, sometimes expressing the doubts
and fears that attend this beginning. Thus under date of November 16,
1845, is the statement:
"Before church, wrote 'The Arrow and the Song,' which came into my mind
as I stood with my back to the fire, and glanced on to the paper with
arrowy speed. Literally an improvisation."
Later, on November 28, is recorded: "Set about 'Gabrielle,'[Footnote:
The poem Evangeline, to which the poet at first intended to give the
title Gabrielle.] my idyl in hexameters, in earnest. I do not mean to
let a day go by without adding something to it, if it be but a single
line. F. and Sumner are both doubtful of the measure. To me it seems
the only one for such a poem." And again, on December 7, "I know not
what name to give to--not my new baby, but my new poem. Shall it be
'Gabrielle,' or 'Celestine,' or 'Evangeline'?" In the journal for 1854
is noted on June 22, "I have at length hit upon a plan for a poem on
the American Indian, which seems to me the right one and the only. It
is to weave together their beautiful traditions into a whole. I have
hit upon a measure, too, which I think the right and only one for such
a theme;" and on June 28, "Work at 'Manabozho'; or, as I think I shall
call it, 'Hiawatha,'--that being another name for the same personage."
As these literary projects came to fill more and more the poet's
thought, he began to feel increasingly hampered by the work of his
college classes. So urgent did the desire become to rid himself of
duties that grew constantly more irksome, that at length, in 1854, he
resigned his professorship. The mingled relief and regret thus afforded
are expressed in his journal under date of September 12: "Yesterday I
got from President Walker a note, with copy of the vote of the
Corporation, accepting my resignation, and expressing regrets at my
retirement. I am now free! But there is a good deal of sadness in the
feeling of separating one's self from one's former life."
For several years thereafter Longfellow's life flowed along peacefully.
These were most profitable years, for he was always an industrious
worker and would not allow moodiness or disinclination to work to
deprive him of opportunities for worthy labor. His three greatest
works, _Evangeline_, _Hiawatha_ and _The Courtship of Miles Standish_,
appeared at intervals of a few years. But this period of comparative
ease and quiet was brought to an abrupt close by the tragic death of
Mrs. Longfellow in 1861. Her dress had taken fire from a lighted match
that had fallen to the floor, and as a result she died the next day.
The poet's grief and feeling of loss were inexpressible, yet he
maintained an appearance of calm. After a long time he became able to
resume his work, and in the years that remained to him, he produced,
besides minor writings, the two series of _The Tales of a Wayside
Inn_. But he never ceased to miss the close companionship of his
wife. He found consolation in caring for his children, sharing alike
their pleasures and their more serious interests. Then, too, he had
several intimate friends whose affection was always a source of great
joy to him. With the exception of a fourth trip to Europe, he passed
the rest of his life quietly, giving to the world the fruits of his
matured poetic powers, continually extending kindly encouragement to
struggling writers, and dispensing charity without parade of his
kindness. So fully were all the promises of his youth realized in his
character and his intellectual life during this final period, that when
death came in 1882, after a brief period of illness, the people of his
own land and those of many other nations as well felt that a great and
good man had passed from earth.
One who reads the journal and the letters in which the home life of
Longfellow is plainly pictured is impressed perhaps even more than by
his poems with the fitness of his title, _The Children's Poet_. One
cannot fail to find, in such words as those in the following extract
from a letter, the gentleness of his regard for children: "My little
girls are flitting about my study, as blithe as two birds. They are
preparing to celebrate the birthday of one of their dolls; and on
the table I find this programme, in E.'s handwriting, which I purloin
and send to you, thinking it may amuse you. What a beautiful world this
child's world is! So instinct with life, so illuminated with
imagination! I take infinite delight in seeing it go on around me, and
feel all the tenderness of the words that fell from the blessed lips:
'Suffer the little children to come unto me.' After that benediction
how can any one dare to deal harshly with a child!" To this loving
interest children everywhere have responded. On the poet's seventy-
second birthday, about seven hundred children of Cambridge gave him an
armchair made of the chestnut-tree celebrated in _The Village
Blacksmith_. A poem was written in answer to the gift, and a copy of
this was given to every child who came to visit the poet and sit in his
chair. And children did come to visit him in great numbers. On one
occasion, in the summer of 1880, the journal records: "Yesterday I had
a visit from two schools: some sixty girls and boys, in all. It seems
to give them so much pleasure that it gives me pleasure." The last
letter that the poet is known to have written was one addressed to a
little girl who had sent him a poem on his seventy-fifth birthday; and
only four days before his death he received a visit from four Boston
boys in whose albums he placed his autograph.
The strongest claim to the high regard in which Longfellow's poems are
held is based on the very qualities that endear him to his child-
readers. All his life, even in the midst of affliction and sorrow, he
was governed by true, deep kindness for all living things, and by a
spirit of helpfulness that is the most beautiful thing expressed in his
poetry. Then, too, he was willing always to write simply, that all
might be benefited by his pure, high thinking. So consistently and with
such power did he put into practice the religion of good will and
service to others that his life seems to have been a realization of the
desire expressed in Wordsworth's lines:
"And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety."
Some of Longfellow's poems that children like most are named in the
Perhaps the most interesting for the youngest readers are _Paul Revere's
Ride_ and _The Wreck of the Hesperus; The Children's Hour_, in which the
poet tells of the daily play-time with his little girls; and _The
Village Blacksmith_, together with the verses _From My Arm-Chair_,
written when the children gave the chair made from the chestnut tree
that had once shaded the Village Blacksmith.
Story-telling poems that children of from ten to twelve years of age
can enjoy are: _The Happiest Land_, _The Luck of Edenhall_, _The Elected
Knight_, _Excelsior_, _The Phantom Ship_, _The Discoverer of the North
Cape_, _The Bell of Atri_, _The Three Kings_, _The Emperor's Bird's
Nest_ and _The Maiden and the Weathercock_. _The Windmill_ and the
translation _Beware_ are especially lively, little poems; and _The Arrow
and the Song_ and _Children_ are quite as cheerful though quieter. More
serious is _The Day Is Done_, well liked for the restful melody; _The
Old Clock on the Stairs_, with its curious refrain; and the famous
_Psalm of Life_, the lesson of which has helped many a young boy and
Among the story-poems for children older than twelve years are
Longfellow's greatest works, _Evangeline_, _Hiawatha_ and _The Courtship
of Miles Standish_; and the minor poems, _Elizabeth_, _The Beleaguered
City_ and _The Building of the Ship_. Nature poems that appeal to
readers of this age are the _Hymn to the Night_, _The Rainy Day_, _The
Evening Star_, _A Day of Sunshine_, _The Brook and the Wave_, _Rain in
Summer_, and _Wanderer's Night Songs_.
Children who are fond of imagining will enjoy _The Belfry of Bruges_ and
_Travels by the Fireside_, and those who like song-poems may select _The
Bridge_ or _Stay, Stay at Home, My Heart_.
Nearly all of the poems that have been named are found in collections
of Longfellow's works under the titles of the volumes in which they
were originally published. _A Psalm of Life_, for example, is one of the
group entitled _Voices of the Night_; and _Paul Revere's Ride_ is one of
the _Tales of a Wayside Inn_.
[Illustration: HER GENTLE HAND IN MINE]
FOOTSTEPS OF ANGELS
_By_ HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW
When the hours of Day are numbered,
And the voices of the Night
Wake the better soul, that slumbered,
To a holy, calm delight;
Ere the evening lamps are lighted,
And, like phantoms grim and tall,
Shadows from the fitful firelight
Dance upon the parlor wall;
Then the forms of the departed
Enter at the open door;
The beloved, the true-hearted,
Come to visit me once more;
He, the young and strong, who cherished
Noble longings for the strife,
By the roadside fell and perished,
Weary with the march of life!
They, the holy ones and weakly,
Who the cross of suffering bore,
Folded their pale hands so meekly,
Spake with us on earth no more!
And with them the Being Beauteous,*
Who unto my youth was given,
More than all things else to love me,
And is now a saint in heaven.
With a slow and noiseless footstep
Comes that messenger divine,
Takes the vacant chair beside me,
Lays her gentle hand in mine.
And she sits and gazes at me
With those deep and tender eyes,
Like the stars, so still and saint-like,
Looking downward from the skies.
Uttered not, yet comprehended,
Is the spirit's voiceless prayer,
Soft rebukes, in blessings ended,
Breathing from her lips of air.
O, though oft depressed and lonely,
All my fears are laid aside,
If I but remember only
Such as these have lived and died!
*[Footnote: This refers to Longfellow's first wife, Mary Storer Potter,
whom he married in 1831. On his second visit to Europe, Mrs. Longfellow
died at Rotterdam in 1835.]
TO H. W. L.,
ON HIS BIRTHDAY, 27TH FEBRUARY, 1867.
_By_ JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL
I need not praise the sweetness of his song,
Where limpid verse to limpid verse succeeds
Smooth as our Charles, when, fearing lest he wrong
The new moon's mirrored skiff, he slides along,
Full without noise, and whispers in his reeds.
With loving breath of all the winds his name
Is blown about the world, but to his friends
A sweeter secret hides behind his fame,
And Love steals shyly through the loud acclaim,
To murmur a _God bless you!_ and there ends.
* * * * *
Surely if skill in song the shears may stay
And of its purpose cheat the charmed abyss,
If our poor life be lengthened by a lay,
He shall not go, although his presence may,
And the next age in praise shall double this.
Long days be his, and each as lusty-sweet
As gracious natures find his song to be;
May Age steal on with softly-cadenced feet
Falling in music, as for him were meet
Whose choicest verse is harsher-toned than he!
While this little tribute may not be as simple to read as some of the
things in this book, yet it is beautiful to those who can read it.
[Illustration: LONGFELLOW'S HOME AT CAMBRIDGE]
One of the fine things about good poetry is that it will not only bear
study and examination, but will yield new beauty and new pleasure as it
is better understood. For instance, take the first stanza above. Lowell
says Longfellow's poetry is sweet and easily understood and that one
line follows another smoothly. To make us see how smoothly, he makes a
beautiful comparison, draws for us an exquisite picture. As smooth, he
says, as is our own river Charles when at night, fearing to disturb by
so much as a single ripple the reflection of the crescent moon, a
mirrored skiff, it glides along noiselessly but whispering gently to
the reeds that line its shores.
Again, Lowell says that the very winds love Longfellow, and waft his
name about the world, giving him fame and honor; but his friends know
him to be a man with a loving heart, and so they steal up to him and
murmur through the noisy shoutings of the crowd a simple _God bless
you!_ which they know Longfellow will appreciate on his birthday
more than all his fame.
To understand the first line in the third stanza, we must know of the
three Fates who in the old Greek myth controlled the life of every man.
One spun the thread of life, a second determined its course, and the
third stood by with shears ready to cut the thread where death was due.
Lowell says if being a skillful poet will make a man immortal, if
our life can be lengthened by a song, then Longfellow shall not leave
us even though his body goes, and in another generation his fame shall
be doubly great.
THE VILLAGE BLACKSMITH
_By_ HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW
Under a spreading chestnut-tree
The village smithy stands;
The smith, a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands.
His hair is crisp and black and long;
His face is like the tan;
His brow is wet with honest sweat,--
He earns whate'er he can;
And looks the whole world in the face,
For he owes not any man.
Week in, week out, from morn till night.
You can hear his bellows blow;
You can hear him swing his heavy sledge,
With measured beat and slow,
Like sexton ringing the village bell
When the evening sun is low.
And children, coming home from school,
Look in at the open door;
They love to see the naming forge,
And hear the bellows roar,
And catch the burning sparks that fly
Like chaff from a threshing-floor.
[Illustration: THE VILLAGE BLACKSMITH]
He goes on Sunday to the church,
And sits among his boys;
He hears the parson pray and preach,
He hears his daughter's voice,
Singing in the village choir,
And it makes his heart rejoice.
It sounds to him like her mother's voice,
Singing in Paradise!
He needs must think of her once more,
How in the grave she lies;
And with his hard, rough hand he wipes
A tear out of his eyes.
Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some task begin,
Each evening sees it close;
Something attempted, something done,
Has earned a night's repose.
Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught!
Thus at the flaming forge of life
Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
Each burning deed and thought!
What a clear little poem this is! From beginning to end there is
scarcely a thing that needs to be explained. We can see the two
pictures almost as though they had been painted for us in colors. If
anything is obscure, it is the comparison of the sparks to the chaff
from a threshing-floor. And if that isn't clear to us it is because
times have changed, and we no longer see grain threshed out on a floor.
His "limpid verse to limpid verse succeeds, smooth as our Charles!"
Longfellow uses skill in the song. He shows us the old blacksmith at
his forge and draws us with the other children to see his work. We
learn to love the strong old man, independent, proud and happy. We
sympathize with him as he weeps and admire him so much that we delight
at the lesson Longfellow so skillfully places at the end.
THE WRECK OF THE HESPERUS
_By_ HENRY WADSWOHTH LONGFELLOW
It was the schooner Hesperus,
That sailed the wintry sea;
And the skipper had taken his little daughter,
To bear him company.
Blue were her eyes as the fairy-flax,
Her cheeks like the dawn of day,
And her bosom white as the hawthorn buds
That ope in the month of May.
The skipper he stood beside the helm
His pipe was in his mouth,
And he watched how the veering flaw did blow
The smoke now West, now South.
Then up and spake an old Sailor,
Had sailed the Spanish Main,
"I pray thee, put into yonder port,
For I fear a hurricane.
"Last night the moon had a golden ring,
And to-night no moon we see!"
The skipper he blew a whiff from his pipe,
And a scornful laugh laughed he.
Colder and colder blew the wind
A gale from the Northeast;
The snow fell hissing in the brine,
And the billows frothed like yeast.
[Illustration: He Bound Her To The Mast.]
Down came the storm, and smote amain,
The vessel in its strength;
She shuddered and paused, like a frighted steed,
Then leaped her cable's length.
"Come hither! come hither! my little daughter,
And do not tremble so;
For I can weather the roughest gale,
That ever wind did blow."
He wrapped her warm in his seaman's coat
Against the stinging blast;
He cut a rope from a broken spar,
And bound her to the mast.
"O father! I hear the church-bells ring.
O say, what may it be?"
"'Tis a fog-bell on a rock-bound coast!"--
And he steered for the open sea.
"O father! I hear the sound of guns.
O say, what may it be?"
"Some ship in distress, that cannot live
In such an angry sea!"
"O father! I see a gleaming light.
O say, what may it be?"
But the father answered never a word,
A frozen corpse was he.
Lashed to the helm, all stiff and stark,
With his face turned to the skies,
The lantern gleamed through the gleaming snow
On his fixed and glassy eyes.
Then the maiden clasped her hands and prayed
That saved she might be;
And she thought of Christ, who stilled the wave,
On the Lake of Galilee.
And fast through the midnight dark and drear,
Through the whistling sleet and snow,
Like a sheeted ghost, the vessel swept
Towards the reef of Norman's Woe.
And ever the fitful gusts between
A sound came from the land;
It was the sound of the trampling surf,
On the rocks and the hard sea-sand.
The breakers were right beneath her bows,
She drifted a dreary wreck,
And a whooping billow swept the crew
Like icicles from her deck.
She struck where the white and fleecy waves
Looked soft as carded wool,
But the cruel rocks, they gored her side
Like the horns of an angry bull.
Her rattling shrouds, all sheathed in ice,
With the masts went by the board;
Like a vessel of glass, she stove and sank,
Ho! ho! the breakers roared!
At daybreak, on the bleak sea-beach,
A fisherman stood aghast,
To see the form of a maiden fair,
Lashed close to a drifting mast.
The salt sea was frozen on her breast,
The salt tears in her eyes;
And he saw her hair, like the brown sea-weed,
On the billows fall and rise.
Such was the wreck of the Hesperus,
In the midnight and the snow!
Christ save us all from a death like this,
On the reef of Norman's Woe!
A DOG OF FLANDERS
[Footnote: This story has been abridged somewhat]
_By_ LOUISE DE LA RAMEE
Nello and Patrasche were left all alone in the world. They were friends
in a friendship closer than brotherhood.
Nello was a little Ardennois; Patrasche was a big Fleming. They were
both of the same age by length of years, yet one was still young and
the other already old. They had dwelt together almost all their days;
both were orphaned and destitute and owed their lives to the same hand.
Their home was a little hut on the edge of a little Flemish village, a
league from Antwerp.
It was the hut of an old man--a poor man--of old Jehan Daas, who in his
time had been a soldier and who remembered the wars that had trampled
the country as oxen tread down the furrows, and who had brought from
his service nothing except a wound which had made him a cripple.
When Jehan Daas had reached his full eighty his daughter had died in
the Ardennes, hard by Stavelot, and had left him in legacy her two-
year-old son. The old man could ill contrive to support himself, but he
took up the additional burden uncomplainingly, and it soon became
welcome and precious to him. Little Nello--which was but a pet
diminutive for Nicholas--throve with him, and the old man and the
little child lived in the poor little hut contentedly.
They were terribly poor--many a day they had nothing at all to eat.
They never by any chance had enough. To have had enough to eat would
have been to have reached paradise at once. But the old man was gentle
and good to the boy and the boy was a beautiful, innocent, truthful,
tender-hearted creature; and they were happy on a crust and a few
leaves of cabbage and asked no more of earth or heaven, save, indeed,
that Patrasche should be always with them, since without Patrasche
where would they have been?
Jehan Daas was old and crippled and Nello was but a child--and
Patrasche was their dog.
A dog of Flanders--yellow of hide, large of limb, with wolflike ears
that stood erect, and legs bowed and feet widened in the muscular
development wrought in his breed by the many generations of hard
service. Patrasche came of a race which had toiled hard and cruelly
from sire to son in Flanders many a century--slaves of slaves, dogs of
the people, beasts of the shafts and harness, creatures that lived
training their sinews in the gall of the cart, and died breaking their
hearts on the flints of the street.
Before he was fully grown he had known the bitter gall of the cart and
collar. Before he had entered his thirteenth month he had become the
property of a hardware dealer, who was accustomed to wander over the
land north and south, from the blue sea to the green mountains. They
sold him for a small price because he was so young.
This man was a drunkard and a brute. The life of Patrasche was a life
His purchaser was a sullen, ill-living, brutal Brabantois, who heaped
his cart full with pots and pans, and flagons and buckets, and other
wares of crockery and brass and tin, and left Patrasche to draw the
load as best he might while he himself lounged idly by the side in fat
and sluggish ease, smoking his black pipe and stopping at every wine
shop or caf� on the road.
One day, after two years of this long and deadly agony, Patrasche was
going on as usual along one of the straight, dusty, unlovely roads that
lead to the city of Rubens.
It was full midsummer and exceedingly warm. His cart was heavy, piled
high with goods in metal and earthenware. His owner sauntered on
without noticing him otherwise than by the crack of the whip as it
curled around his quivering loins.
The Brabantois had paused to drink beer himself at every wayside house,
but he had forbidden Patrasche to stop for a moment for a draft from
the canal. Going along thus, in the full sun, on a scorching highway,
having eaten nothing for twenty-four hours, and, which was far worse
for him, not having tasted water for nearly twelve; being blind with
dust, sore with blows, and stupefied with the merciless weight which
dragged upon his loins, Patrasche, for once, staggered and foamed a
little at the mouth and fell.
He fell in the middle of the white, dusty road, in the full glare of
the sun; he was sick unto death and motionless. His master gave him the
only medicine in his pharmacy--kicks and oaths and blows with the oak
cudgel--which had been often the only food and drink, the only wage and
reward, ever offered to him.
But Patrasche was beyond the reach of any torture or of any curses.
Patrasche lay, dead to all appearances, down in the white powder of the
summer dust. His master, with a parting kick, passed on and left him.
After a time, among the holiday makers, there came a little old man who
was bent, and lame, and feeble. He was in no guise for feasting. He was
poor and miserably clad, and he dragged his silent way slowly through
the dust among the pleasure seekers.
He looked at Patrasche, paused, wondered, turned aside, then kneeled
down in the rank grass and weeds of the ditch and surveyed the dog with
kindly eyes of pity.
There was with him a little, rosy, fair-haired, dark-eyed child of a
few years old, who pattered in amid the bushes, that were for him
breast high, and stood gazing with a pretty seriousness upon the poor,
great, quiet beast.
Thus it was that these two first met--the little Nello and the big
Patrasche. They carried Patrasche home; and when he recovered he was
harnessed to the cart that carried the milk cans of the neighbors to
Antwerp. Thus the dog earned the living of the old man and the boy who
There was only one thing which caused Patrasche any uneasiness in his
life, and it was this: Antwerp, as all the world knows, is full at
every turn of old piles of stones, dark, and ancient, and majestic,
standing in crooked courts, jammed against gateways and taverns, rising
by the water's edge, with bells ringing above them in the air, and ever
and again out of their arched doors a swell of music pealing.
There they remain, the grand old sanctuaries of the past, shut in amid
the squalor, the hurry, the crowds, the unloveliness, and the commerce
of the modern world, and all day long the clouds drift, and the birds
circle, and the winds sigh around them, and beneath the earth at their
feet there sleeps--Rubens.
And the greatness of the mighty master still rests upon Antwerp.
Wherever we turn in its narrow streets his glory lies therein, so that
all mean things are thereby transfigured; and as we pace slowly through
the winding ways, and by the edge of the stagnant waters, and through
the noisome courts, his spirit abides with us, and the heroic beauty of
his visions is about us, and the stones that once felt his footsteps,
and bore his shadow, seem to rise and speak of him with living voices.
For the city which is the tomb of Rubens still lives to us through him,
and him alone.
Now, the trouble of Patrasche was this:
Into these great, sad piles of stones, that reared their melancholy
majesty above the crowded roofs, the child Nello would many and many a
time enter and disappear through their dark, arched portals, while
Patrasche, left upon the pavement, would wearily and vainly ponder on
what could be the charm which allured from him his inseparable and
[Illustration: RESCUE OF PATRASCHE]
Once or twice he did essay to see for himself, clattering up the steps
with his milk cart behind him, but thereon he had been always sent back
again summarily by a tall custodian in black clothes and silver chains
of office, and, fearful of bringing his little master into trouble, he
desisted and crouched patiently before the church until such time as
the boy reappeared.
What was it? wondered Patrasche.
He thought it could not be good or natural for the lad to be so grave,
and in his dumb fashion he tried all he could to keep Nello by him in
the sunny fields or in the busy market places.
But to the church Nello would go. Most often of all he would go to the
great cathedral; and Patrasche, left without on the stones by the iron
fragments of the Quentin Matsys's gate, would stretch himself and yawn
and sigh, and even howl now and then, all in vain, until the doors
closed and the child perforce came forth again, and, winding his arms
about the dog's neck, would kiss him on his broad, tawny-colored
forehead and murmur always the same words:
"If I could only see them, Patrasche! If I could only see them!"
What were they? pondered Patrasche, looking up with large, wistful,
One day, when the custodian was out of the way and the doors left ajar,
he got in for a moment after his friend, and saw. "They" were two great
covered pictures on either side of the choir.
Nello was kneeling, wrapt as in an ecstasy, before the altar picture of
the "Assumption," and when he noticed Patrasche and rose and drew the
dog gently out into the air, his face was wet with tears, and he looked
up at the veiled places as he passed them and murmured to his
"It is so terrible not to see them, Patrasche, just because one is poor
and cannot pay! He never meant that the poor should not see them when
he painted them, I am sure. And they keep them shrouded there---
shrouded in the dark---the beautiful things! And they never feel the
light, and no eyes look upon them unless rich people come and pay. If I
could only see them I would be content to die."
But he could not see them, and Patrasche could not help him, for to
gain the silver piece that the church exacts for looking on the glories
of the "Elevation of the Cross" and the "Descent from the Cross" was a
thing as utterly beyond the powers of either of them as it would have
been to scale the heights of the cathedral spire.
The whole soul of the little Ardennois thrilled and stirred with an
absorbing passion for art.
Going on his way through the old city in the early daybreak before the
sun or the people had seen them, Nello, who looked only a little
peasant boy, with a great dog drawing milk to sell from door to door,
was in a heaven of dreams whereof Rubens was the god. Nello, cold and
hungry, with stockingless feet in wooden shoes, and the winter winds
blowing among his curls and lifting his poor, thin garments, was in
rapture of meditation wherein all that he saw was the beautiful face of
the Mary of "Assumption," with the waves of her golden hair lying upon
her shoulders and the light of an eternal sun shining down upon her
brow. Nello, reared in poverty, and buffeted by fortune, and untaught
in letters, and unheeded by men, had the compensation or the curse
which is called genius.
No one knew it--he as little as any. No one knew it.
"I should go to my grave quite content if I thought, Nello, that when
thou growest a man thou couldst own this hut and the little plat of
ground and labor for thyself and be called Baas by thy neighbors," said
the old man Jehan many an hour from his bed.
Nello dreamed of other things in the future than of tilling the little
rood of earth, and living under the wattle roof, and being called Baas
by neighbors, a little poorer or a little less poor than himself. The
cathedral spire, where it rose beyond the fields in the ruddy evening
skies or in the dim, gray, misty morning, said other things to him than
this. But these he told only to Patrasche, whispering, childlike, his
fancies in the dog's ear when they went together at their work through
the fogs of the daybreak or lay together at their rest amongst the
rustling rushes by the water's side.
There was only one other besides Patrasche to whom Nello could talk at
all of his daring fancies. This other was little Alois, who lived at
the old red mill on the grassy mound, and whose father, the miller, was
the best-to-do husbandman in all the village.
Little Alois was a pretty baby, with soft, round, rosy features, made
lovely by those sweet, dark eyes that the Spanish rule has left in so
many a Flemish face.
Little Alois often was with Nello and Patrasche. They played in the
fields, they ran in the snow, they gathered the daisies and bilberries,
they went up to the old gray church together, and they often sat
together by the broad wood fire in the millhouse.
One day her father, Baas Cogez, a good man, but stern, came on a pretty
group in the long meadow behind the mill.
It was his little daughter sitting amidst the hay, with the great,
tawny head of Patrasche on her lap, and many wreaths of poppies and
blue cornflowers round them both. On a clean, smooth slab of pine wood
the boy Nello drew their likeness with a stick of charcoal.
The miller stood and looked at the portrait with tears in his eyes, it
was so strangely like, and he loved his own child closely and well.
Then he roughly chid the little girl for idling there whilst her mother
needed her within, and sent her indoors crying and afraid. Then,
turning, he snatched the wood from Nello's hands.
[Illustration: NELLO AND PATRASCHE]
"Dost much of such folly?" he asked. But there a tremble in his voice.
Nello colored and hung his head. "I draw everything I see," he
Baas Cogez went into his millhouse sore troubled in his mind. "This lad
must not be so much with Alois," he said to his wife that night.
"Trouble may come of it hereafter. He is fifteen now and she is twelve,
and the lad is comely." And from that day poor Nello was allowed in the
millhouse no more.
Nello had a secret which only Patrasche knew. There was a little
outhouse to the hut, which no one entered but himself--a dreary place
but with an abundant clear light from the north. Here he had fashioned
himself rudely an easel in rough lumber, and here, on the great sea of
stretched paper, he had given shape to one of the innumerable fancies
which possessed his brain.
No one ever had taught him anything; colors he had no means to buy; he
had gone without bread many a time to procure even the poor vehicles
that he had there; and it was only in black and white that he could
fashion the things he saw. This great figure which he had drawn here in
chalk was only an old man sitting on a fallen tree--only that. He had
seen old Michel, the woodman, sitting so at evening many a time.
He never had had a soul to tell him of outline or perspective, of
anatomy or of shadow, and yet he had given all the weary, worn-out age,
all the sad, quiet patience, all the rugged, careworn pathos of his
original, and given them so that the old, lonely figure was a poem,
sitting there, meditative and alone, on the dead tree, with the
darkness of descending night behind him.
It was rude, of course, in a way, and had many faults no doubt; and yet
it was real, true to nature, true to art, mournful, and, in a manner,
Patrasche had lain quiet countless hours watching its gradual creation
after the labor of each day was done, and he knew that Nello had a
hope--vain and wild perhaps, but strongly cherished--of sending this
great drawing to compete for a prize of 200 francs a year, which it was
announced in Antwerp would be open to every lad of talent, scholar or
peasant, under eighteen, who attempted to win it with unaided work of
chalk or pencil. Three of the foremost artists in the town of Rubens
were to be the judges and elect the victor according to his merits.
All the spring and summer and autumn Nello had been at work upon this
treasure, which, if triumphant, would build him his first steps toward
independence and the mysteries of the arts, which he blindly,
ignorantly and yet passionately adored.
The drawings were to go in on the 1st of December and the decision to
be given on the 24th, so that he who should win might rejoice with all
his people at the Christmas season.
In the twilight of a bitter winter day, and with a beating heart, now
quick with hope, now faint with fear, Nello placed the great picture on
his little green milk cart and left it, as enjoined, at the doors of a
He took heart as he went by the cathedral. The lordly form of Rubens
seemed to rise from the fog and darkness and to loom in its
magnificence before him, whilst the lips, with their kindly smile,
seemed to him to murmur, "Nay, have courage! It was not by a weak heart
and by faint fears that I wrote my name for all time upon Antwerp."
The winter was sharp already. That night, after they reached the hut,
snow fell, and it fell for many days after that, so that the paths and
the divisions of the fields were all obliterated, and all the smaller
streams were frozen over and the cold was intense upon the plains.
Then, indeed, it became hard work to go round for milk, while the world
was all dark, and carry it through the darkness to the silent town.
In the winter time all drew nearer to each other, all to all except to
Nello and Patrasche, with whom none now would have anything to do,
because the miller had frowned upon the child. Nello and Patrasche were
left to fare as they might with the old, paralyzed, bedridden man in
the little cabin, whose fire often was cold, and whose board often was
without bread, for there was a buyer from Antwerp who had taken to
drive his mule in of a day for the milk of the various dairies, and
there were only three or four of the people who had refused the terms
of purchase and remained faithful to the little green cart. So that the
burden which Patrasche drew had become light, and the centime pieces in
Nello's pouch had become, alas! light likewise.
The weather was wild and cold. The snow was six feet deep; the ice was
firm enough to bear oxen and men upon it everywhere. At this season the
little village always was gay and cheerful. At the poorest dwelling
there were possets and cakes, sugared saints and gilded Jesus. The
merry Flemish bells jingled everywhere on the horses, everywhere within
doors some well-filled soup pot sang and smoked over the stove, and
everywhere over the snow without laughing maidens pattered in bright
kerchiefs and stout skirts going to and from mass. Only in the little
hut it was dark and cold.
[Illustration: NELLO LEFT HIS PICTURE AT THE DOOR]
Nello and Patrasche were left utterly alone; for one night in the week
before the Christmas day death entered there and took away from life
forever old Jehan Daas. who had never known of life aught save poverty
and pain. He had long been half dead, incapable of any movement except
a feeble gesture, and powerless for anything beyond a gentle word. And
yet his loss fell on them both with a great horror in it; they mourned
him passionately. He had passed away from them in his sleep, and when
in the gray dawn they learned their bereavement, unbearable solitude
and desolation seemed to close around them. He had long been only a
poor, feeble, paralyzed old man who could not raise a hand in their
defense, but he had loved them well; his smile always had welcomed
their return. They mourned for him unceasingly, refusing to be
comforted, as in the white winter day they followed the deal shell that
held his body to the nameless grave by the little church. They were his
only mourners, these two whom he had left friendless upon the earth--
the young boy and the old dog.
Nello and Patrasche went home with broken hearts. But even of that
poor, melancholy, cheerless home they were denied the consolation.
There was a month's rental overdue for the little place, and when Nello
had paid the last sad service to the dead he had not a coin left. He
went and begged grace of the owner of the hut, a cobbler who went every
Sunday night to drink his pint of wine and smoke with Baas Cogez. The
cobbler would grant no mercy. He claimed in default of his rent every
stick and stone, every pot and pan in the hut, and bade Nello and
Patrasche to be out of it by to-morrow.
All night long the boy and the dog sat by the fireless hearth in the
darkness, drawn close together for warmth and sorrow. Their bodies were
insensible to the cold, but their hearts seemed frozen in them.
When the morning broke over the white, chill earth it was the morning
of Christmas eve. With a shudder Nello clasped close to him his only
friend, while his tears fell hot and fast on the dog's forehead.
"Let us go, Patrasche; dear, dear Patrasche!" he murmured. "We will not
wait to be kicked out. Let us go."
They took the old accustomed road into Antwerp. The winner of the
drawing prize was to be proclaimed at noon, and to the public building
where he had left his treasure Nello made his way. On the step and in
the entrance hall there was a crowd of youths--some of his age, some
older, all with parents or relatives or friends. His heart was sick
with fear as he went amongst them, holding Patrasche close to him.
The great bells of the city clashed out the hour of noon with brazen
clamor. The doors of the inner hall were opened; the eager, panting
throng rushed in. It was known that the selected picture would be
raised above the rest upon a wooden dais.
A mist obscured Nello's sight, his head swam, his limbs almost failed
him. When his vision cleared he saw the drawing raised on high; it was
not his own. A slow, sonorous voice was proclaiming aloud that victory
had been adjudged to Stephan Kiesslinger, born in the burg of Antwerp,
son of a wharfinger in that town.
When Nello recovered consciousness he was lying on the stones without,
and Patrasche was trying with every art he knew to call him back to
life. In the distance a throng of youths of Antwerp were shouting
around their successful comrade and escorting him with acclamation to
his home upon the quay.
He rallied himself as best he could, for he was weak from fasting, and
retraced his steps to the village. Patrasche paced by his side with his
head drooping and his strong limbs feeble under him from hunger and
The snow was falling fast; a keen hurricane blew from the north; it was
bitter as death on the plains. It took them long to traverse the
familiar paths, and the bells were sounding four of the clock as they
approached the hamlet. Suddenly Patrasche paused, arrested by a scent
in the snow, scratched, whined, and drew out with his teeth a small
case of brown leather. He held it up to Nello in the darkness. Where
they were there stood a little Calvary, and a lamp burned dully under
the cross. The boy mechanically turned the bag to the light. On it was
the name of Baas Cogez and within it were notes for 6,000 francs.
The sight aroused the lad a little from his stupor. He thrust it in his
shirt and stroked Patrasche and drew him onward.
Nello made straight for the millhouse and went to the house-door and
struck on the panels. The miller's wife opened it, weeping, with little
Alois clinging close to her skirts.
"Is it thee, thou poor lad?" she asked kindly through her tears. "Get
thee gone ere the Baas sees thee. We are in sore trouble to-night. He
is out seeking for a power of money that he has let fall riding
homeward, and in this snow he never will find it. And God knows it will
go nigh to ruin us. It is heaven's own judgment for the things we have
done to thee."
Nello put the note case within her hand and signed to Patrasche within
"Patrasche found the money to-night," he said quickly. "Tell Baas Cogez
so. I think he will not deny the dog shelter and food in his old age.
Keep him from pursuing me, and I pray of you to be good to him."
Ere woman or dog knew what he did he had stooped and kissed Patrasche,
then had closed the door hurriedly on him and had disappeared in the
gloom of the fast falling night.
It was six o'clock at night when, from an opposite entrance, the miller
at last came, jaded and broken, into his wife's presence. "It is lost
forever," he said, with an ashen cheek and a quiver in his voice. "We
have looked with lanterns everywhere. It is gone--the little maiden's
portion and all."
His wife put the money into his hand and told him how it had come back
to her. The strong man sank, trembling, into a seat and covered his
face with his hands, ashamed, almost afraid.
"I have been cruel to the lad," he murmured at length. "I deserve not
to have good at his hands."
Little Alois, taking courage, crept close to her father, and nestled
against him her curly, fair head.
"Nello may come here again, father?" she whispered. "He may come to-
morrow, as he used to do?"
The miller pressed her in his arms. His hard, sunburned face was pale
and his mouth trembled. "Surely, surely," he answered his child. "He
shall bide here on Christmas day and any other day he will. In my greed
I sinned, and the Lord chastened me. God helping me, I will make amends
to the boy--I will make amends."
When the supper smoked on the board and the voices were loudest and
gladdest, and the Christ child brought choicest gifts to Alois,
Patrasche, watching always an occasion, glided out when the door was
unlatched by a careless newcomer, and as swiftly as his weak and tired
limbs would bear him, sped over the snow in the bitter, black night. He
had only one thought--to follow Nello.
Snow had fallen freshly all evening long. It was now nearly ten
o'clock. The trail of the boy's footsteps was almost obliterated. It
took Patrasche long and arduous labor to discover any scent which could
guide him in pursuit. When at last he found it, it was lost again
quickly, and lost and recovered, and again lost, and again recovered a
hundred times and more. It was all quite dark in the town. Now and then
some light gleamed ruddily through the crevices and house shutters, or
some group went homeward with lanterns, chanting drinking songs. The
streets were all white with ice, and high walls and roofs loomed black
against them. There was scarce a sound save the riot of the wind down
the passages as it tossed the creaking signs.
So many passers-by had trodden through and through the snow, so many
diverse paths had crossed and recrossed each other that the dog had a
hard task to retain any hold of the track he followed. But he kept on
his way though the cold pierced him to the bone and the jagged ice cut
his feet, and the hunger in his body gnawed like a rat's tooth. But he
kept on his way--a poor, gaunt, shivering, drooping thing--in the
frozen darkness, that no one pitied as he went--and by long patience
traced the steps he loved into the heart of the burg and up to the
steps of the great cathedral.
"He is gone to the things that he loved," thought Patrasche. He could
not understand, but he was full of sorrow and of pity for the art
passion that to him was so incomprehensible and yet so sacred.
The portals of the cathedral were unclosed after the midnight mass.
Some heedlessness in the custodians, too eager to go home and feast or
sleep, or too drowsy to know whether they turned the keys aright, had
left one of the doors unlocked. By that accident the footfalls
Patrasche sought had passed through into the building, leaving the
white marks of the snow upon the dark stone floor.
By that slender white thread, frozen as it fell, he was guided through
the intense silence, through the immensity of the vaulted space--guided
straight to the gates of the chancel--and stretched there upon the
stones, he found Nello. He crept up noiselessly and touched the face of
"Didst thou dream that I should be faithless and forsake thee? I--a
dog?" said that mute caress.
The lad raised himself with a low cry and clasped him close.
"Let us lie down and die together," he murmured. "Men have no need of
us, and we are all alone."
In answer Patrasche crept closer yet and laid his head upon the young
man's breast. The tears stood in his great, brown, sad eyes. Not for
himself; for himself he was happy.
Suddenly through the darkness a great white radiance streamed through
the vastness of the aisles. The moon, that was at her height, had
broken through the clouds. The snow had ceased to fall. The light
reflected from the snow without was clear as the light of dawn. It fell
through the arches full upon the two pictures above, from which the
boy, on his entrance, had flung back the veil. "The Elevation" and "The
Descent from the Cross" for one instant were visible as by day.
Nello rose to his feet and stretched his arms to them. The tears of a
passionate ecstasy glistened on the paleness of his face.
"I have seen them at last!" he cried aloud. "Oh God, it is enough!"
When the Christmas morning broke and the priests came to the temple
they saw them lying on the stones together. Above, the veils were drawn
back from the great visions of Rubens, and the fresh rays of the
sunrise touched the thorn-crowned head of God.
As the day grew on there came an old, hard-featured man who wept as
"I was cruel to the lad," he murmured, "and now I would have made
amends--yea, to the half of my substance--and he should have been to me
as a son."
There came also as the day grew apace a painter who had fame in the
world and who was liberal of hand and of spirit.
"I seek one who should have had the prize yesterday had worth won," he
said to the people, "a boy of rare promise and genius. An old
woodcutter on a fallen tree at eventide, that was all his theme. I
would find him and take him with me and teach him art."
And a little child with curling fair hair, sobbing bitterly as she
clung to her father's arm, cried aloud: "O Nello, come! We have all
ready for thee. The Christ child's hands are full of gifts, and the old
piper will play for us; and the mother says thou shalt stay by the
hearth and burn nuts with us all the Noel week long--yes even to the
feast of the kings! And Patrasche will be happy! O Nello, wake and
But the young, pale face, turned upward to the great Rubens with a
smile upon its mouth, answered them all, "It is too late."
For the sweet sonorous hells went ringing through the frost, and the
sunlight shone upon the plains of snow, and the populace trooped gay
and glad through the streets, but Nello and Patrasche no more asked
charity at their hands. All they needed now Antwerp gave unbidden.
When they were found the arms of the boy were folded so closely around
the dog that it was difficult to draw them away. The people of the
little village, contrite and ashamed, took the little boy tenderly in
their arms and bore him away to his last resting place. Patrasche was
not forgotten, for all the villagers felt the strength of his devotion.
* * * * *
Of all the characters in this story, which is the most important and
the most interesting? The author has showed us which she considers the
most important by the title she has given to the tale--_A Dog of
Flanders_. Let us see just what she has told us about Patrasche,
that we may know whether he is worthy of being the hero of a story.
First, as to his appearance, we are given the following facts:
1. Yellow of hide.
2. Large of limb.
3. Wolflike ears.
4. Legs bowed and feet widened.
5. Large, wistful, sympathetic eyes.
6. Great, tawny head.
7. (Later) Drooping and feeble; gaunt.
The picture which the author paints for us of Patrasche's appearance is
not beautiful; we do not love him just for his looks. As to his
character and abilities, we are told, or are enabled to find out from
his actions, the following things:
1. Strong and industrious. He used to draw the heavy cart of the
2. Grateful. He loved those who had saved his life, and worked for them
3. Careful of his young master. He was troubled when Nello went into
the dim churches.
4. Wise. He felt that it was good for Nello to be as much as possible
in the sunny fields or among happy people.
5. Sympathetic. He looked at Nello with _wistful, sympathetic eyes_.
6. Understanding. He realized that the picture that Nello was drawing
was something which meant much to him.
7. Loving. He grieved passionately with Nello at the old man's death.
8. Acute of sense. He discovered the pocket book in the snow.
9. Faithful. He refused to stay in the miller's warm kitchen while
Nello was out in the cold.
10. Persistent and patient. He never gave up the search, difficult
though it was, until he had found his master.
11. Unselfish. He was happy for himself, but he wept because his master
Do you think a dog could have all these qualities, or do you think the
author, in her anxiety to have us like the dog, has given him
characteristics which he could not really possess? Have you not,
yourself, known dogs that were as intelligent, as affectionate and as
faithful as Patrasche?
ALICE AND PHOEBE CARY
_By_ ANNA McCALEB
In the writings of Alice and Phoebe Cary are to be found many
references which show how fondly they remembered the little brown house
in which they were born. This house was on a farm in the Miami Valley
in Ohio, eight miles north of Cincinnati. Alice was born April 26th,
1820, and Phoebe, September 24th, 1824, and there was one brother
between them. Robert Gary, the father, was a kindly, gentle man, fond
of reading, especially romances and poetry. The education for which he
had so much longed he had been unable to obtain, and this made him
quiet and diffident with strangers, although in his own family he was
most loving and most companionable. Even the animals on the farm loved
him, and the horses and cattle would follow him about watching for the
kindly word and pat, or for the lump of salt or sugar which he was so
certain to have for them. This Robert Cary was a descendant of Sir
Robert Cary, a famous English knight of the time of Henry V, and Phoebe
was always very proud of this ancestry of hers--so proud, in fact, that
she had the Gary arms engraved on a seal ring.
It would seem that the enthusiastic admiration which the daughters all
their life had for their mother was nothing beyond her deserts, for she
seems to have been far from an ordinary woman. Despite the fact that
she had nine children, and that she did the work for the entire family,
she managed to keep up her interest in public affairs, and to read
history, essays, biography and politics, as often as books on such
subjects came to her hand.
In the little brown house with its overhanging cherry tree, which
tapped the roof and scratched the attic window-panes, and with its
sweetbrier under the window, the children lived a simple and happy
life. Naturally in a family of this size they divided themselves into
groups, and Alice and Phoebe, who in their later life were so
inseparable, do not seem to have singled each other out as companions
in their childhood. Alice's special comrade was her next older sister,
Rhoda, Thom she persisted to her dying day in thinking of as the real
genius of the family, while the constant playmate of the active Phoebe
was her next younger brother. The children spent much time out-of-
doors, gathering nuts and flowers in their season, and gaining that
love of nature which stayed with them all their lives. As they grew
older, they were sent to the district school, and were taught household
tasks, Alice taking readily enough to housekeeping, while Phoebe
became, even as a child, remarkably proficient with the needle.
The struggle to keep out of debt was a constant one with the Cary
family, and Alice said long years afterward, "For the first fourteen
years of my life it seemed as if there was actually nothing in
existence but work." However, By 1832 family affairs had improved
somewhat, and a new and larger house was built upon the farm. It seemed
as if all the ill luck of the family dated from the building of the new
house, in which they were never as happy as they had been in the little
When she was a woman, Alice told with perfect faith the "family ghost
story," which concerned this new house. She said that just before the
removal of the family to the new house, they were all driven to the
shelter of the old house by a sudden and violent summer storm. As Alice
herself stood at the window looking out, she exclaimed to her mother,
"Why is Rhoda at the new house with baby Lucy, and why does she have
the door open?"
They all looked, and all saw Rhoda standing in the doorway of the new
house, with the baby in her arms.
"She was probably out with the child and took shelter in the nearest
place when the storm came up," said the mother, and then she called
The figure in the doorway did not move, and in a few moments Rhoda came
down from upstairs, where she had left little Lucy asleep, declaring
that she had not been near the new house.
The family believed most sincerely that this was a warning of trouble
to come, and certain it is that in 1833, within one month of each
other, Rhoda and little Lucy died. Lucy had been Alice's special
charge, as Rhoda had been her special companion, and the girl's heart
was almost broken by this double loss. How deep and lasting her grief
was may be seen from a remark that she made to one of her friends,
speaking of Lucy's death.
"I was not fourteen when she died--I am almost fifty now. It may seem
strange when I tell you that I do not believe that there has been an
hour of any day since her death in which I have not thought of her and
mourned for her."
In 1835 Mrs. Cary died, and two years later the father married again.
The stepmother, a hard-headed, practical woman, could see nothing but
laziness in the desire of Alice and Phoebe to read and write. During
the day she insisted that they must keep busy about the house; in the
evening she refused to allow them to burn candles, and thus the girls
often worked with no light except what was afforded by a saucer of lard
with a twist of rag stuck into it for a wick. For books they had but
the Bible, a Hymn Book, a _History of the Jews, Lewis and Clark's
Travels_, Pope's _Essays_, _Charlotte Temple_, a romance, and a
mutilated novel, _The Black Penitents_. The last pages of this novel
were missing, and Alice often declared that it was a lifelong regret to
her that she never learned how the story "turned out."
With these meager helps and with no incentives to work except their own
desires, Alice and Phoebe constantly wrote poems and stories. At the
age of fourteen, Phoebe, without telling her father or even her sister,
sent a poem to a Boston publisher. She heard nothing from it, but some
time later came upon it, copied in a Cincinnati paper from the Boston
journal. She laughed and cried in her excitement, but still she told no
About this time the father and stepmother removed to another house
which had been built on the farm, and left the children in possession
of the old one, so that their life was decidedly happier and their
chances for work were multiplied.
Alice from this time on published numerous poems, chiefly in church
papers, and her writings began to attract attention throughout the
country. There was a freshness and charm about her little poems which
won for them the favorable opinion of some of the best judges of poetry
in the country. Of her "Pictures of Memory," Poe said that it was one
of the most rhythmically perfect lyrics in the English language.
Whittier wrote to the sisters, and Horace Greeley visited them in 1849,
and thus slowly they gained the recognition and the encouragement which
led them in 1850 to a rather daring step.
This was no less than a removal to New York. Alice went first, but she
soon sent for Phoebe and their younger sister Elmina. In thus setting
out for the great city and settling down to earn her living, Alice Cary
was no doubt influenced by a rather painful circumstance which had
taken place in her life. There had come to their neighborhood, some
little time before, a man, her superior in age and education, who had
recognized her unusual gifts and attractiveness, and had spent much
time with her. She came to love him deeply and sincerely, and it would
seem that he was but little less attracted by her. However, his family
managed to persuade him that his best interests demanded that he should
not marry this country-bred girl, and he returned to his home, leaving
Alice to watch and hope for his coming. The gradual relinquishment of
her dream and the final conviction that the sort of home life for which
she felt herself most fitted was not after all to be hers, led Alice
Cary to feel that she must take up some definite work to support
herself and to help her sisters. She herself said later, in speaking
about the removal to New York, "Ignorance stood me in the stead of
courage and of books"--she knew so little about the great city to which
she was going that she feared it little.
The sisters made up their minds from the first that they would have a
home; they had a horror of the boarding-house atmosphere. Their first
home was but two, or three rooms, high up in a big building in an
unfashionable part of the town. Alice papered rooms, Phoebe painted
doors and framed pictures; but the impress of their individuality was
on the rooms, and every one who entered them felt their coziness and
"hominess." Papers and magazines paid but little for contributions in
those days, and it was only by living in the most economical and humble
way that they managed to avoid their great horror--debt. But their life
was by no means barren, for they became acquainted with many pleasant
people, who were always glad and proud to be invited to the little tea
parties in the three rooms under the roof.
The publication in 1852 of Alice's _Clovernook Papers_ brought to
her increasing recognition and new friends. These simple, original
little sketches of rural scenery and rural life were just the things
which Alice Cary knew best how to write, and they became very popular
all over the country. Before 1856 the sisters had removed to the pretty
house in Twentieth Street which was their home for the rest of their
lives. Alice bought the house and the furnishings; indeed it was she
who did most of the planning for the household, and who paid most of
the bills. She worked early and late, driven always by the obligations
to be met. A biographer says of her: "I have never known any other
woman so systematically and persistently industrious as Alice Cary."
Phoebe worked indeed, but spasmodically--she waited on her moods.
The home life of the sisters was most pleasant and simple. They had no
"society manners;" the witty Phoebe was as willing to flash out her
brightest puns for Alice's enjoyment as she was for a drawing-room full
of appreciative listeners; while Alice's gentleness and sweetness were
shown constantly to her sister and were not reserved for company only.
Their great occasions were their Sunday evening receptions, and the
people who gathered then under their roof were far from an ordinary
company. Horace Greeley, Bayard Taylor, Richard and Elizabeth Stoddard,
Justin McCarthy, Thomas Bailey Aldrich, Ole Bull, P. T. Barnum,
Elizabeth Cady Stanton--these were but a part of the brilliant company
which delighted to gather on Sunday evening and enjoy the sweetness and
womanliness of Alice, and the wit of Phoebe.
Interrupted by the death of the beloved younger sister Elmina, this
life in the Twentieth Street house went on for over twelve years, until
in 1868 Alice Cary became a confirmed invalid. After she was confined
to her room, however, she wanted life and brightness about her, and had
the door of her room always left open, that she might hear the cheerful
sounds of the household.
[Illustration: ALICE CARY 1820-1871]
During their life in New York, Phoebe had had numerous offers of
marriage, but it had never cost her anything to say, "I don't want to
marry anybody." Soon after the beginning of Alice's invalid days,
however, Phoebe received an offer of marriage from a man whom she felt
that she could love, and with whom she was sure she could be happy. She
had always felt that in the home she was second to Alice, and she
confessed once to a friend, "Sometimes I feel a yearning to have a life
of my very own; my own house and work and friends; and to feel myself
the center of all."
However, much as it cost her, she resolutely put away the thought of
this possible happiness because she knew that her sister could not
endure her absence in what were very clearly the last days of her life.
In February, 1870, Alice Cary died, and Phoebe from that time on seemed
but half a person. To one of her friends she said pathetically: "For
thirty years I have gone straight to her bedside as soon as I arose in
the morning, and wherever she is, I am sure she wants me now." She
tried to take up her work--indeed she felt that in her sister's absence
she had double work to do; but it was of no use, and in a little more
than a year after her sister's death she too died.
These two sisters, who were so constantly associated for so many years,
differed very decidedly in many respects. Alice, the frailer in body,
was much the stronger in will power; indeed her ability to force
herself to begin and to stick to anything which she thought was to be
done was the marvel of her friends. This intense energy often jarred on
the more easy-going Phoebe, just as Phoebe's refusal to do literary
work unless she were exactly in the right mood, often jarred upon
Alice. However, the two sisters never showed their irritation; they
were always sweet and gentle in their dealings with each other.
Naturally, Alice's superior energy resulted in an output of literary
work which was much larger than Phoebe's. There was a difference, too,
besides that of quantity in the work of the sisters. Alice possessed a
more objective imagination, that is, she could, in the ballads which
she was so fond of writing, place herself in the position of those whom
she was describing, and make their feelings her own. Phoebe, on the
other hand, in her serious poems held more closely to her own
experiences. Both the sisters were very fond of children, though in a
different way, Alice feeling for them a sort of mother-love, while
Phoebe always felt toward them as though they were comrades. It is the
genuine love for children which makes the children's stories and poems
of Alice and Phoebe Cary live.
Shortly after Phoebe died one of her friends wrote, "The wittiest woman
in America is dead;" and constantly on all sides was heard the saying,
"O, if I had only taken down the many wonderfully bright things that I
heard her say!" Her parodies have rarely been excelled, and some of her
humorous poems are irresistibly funny. The best known perhaps of her
parodies is the one on Longfellow's _The Day Is Done_, of which a
stanza may be quoted here. For the original stanza which runs:
"I see the lights of the village
Gleam through the rain and the mist,
And a feeling of sadness comes o'er me,
That my soul cannot resist:
A feeling of sadness and longing,
That is not akin to pain,
And resembles sorrow only
As the mist resembles the rain,"
Phoebe Gary substituted the words:
"I see the lights of the baker
Gleam through the rain and the mist,
And a feeling of hunger comes o'er me,
That my soul cannot resist:
A feeling of sadness and longing
That is not like being sick
And resembles sorrow only,
As a brickbat resembles a brick."
However, more than for anything else, perhaps, Phoebe Cary will be
remembered for her lyric, _One Sweetly Solemn Thought_. Not long
before she died she heard a story of something which this little
poem had accomplished, which made her very happy. A gentleman going to
China was entrusted with a package for an American boy in China.
Arriving at his destination, he failed to find the boy, but was told
that he might discover him in a certain gambling house. As he sat and
waited, he watched with disgust and loathing the dreadful scenes going
on about him. At a table near him sat a young boy and a man of perhaps
forty, drinking and playing cards; they were swearing horribly and
using the vilest language.
At length, while the older man shuffled and dealt the cards, the boy
leaned back in his chair and half unconsciously began to hum, finally
singing under his breath Phoebe Cary's hymn, _One Sweetly Solemn
"Where did you learn that hymn?" cried the older gambler abruptly.
"At Sunday School at home," replied the boy, surprised.
The older man threw the cards on the floor. "Come, Harry," he said,
"let's get out of this place. I am ashamed that I ever brought you
here, and I shall do my best to keep you from entering such a place
Together the two passed from the gambling house, and the man who
watched them learned later that they were both true to their resolution
to live a different life.
_By_ PHOEBE CARY
One sweetly solemn thought
Comes to me o'er and o'er;
I am nearer home to-day
Than I ever have been before;
Nearer my Father's house,
Where the many mansions be;
Nearer the great white throne,
Nearer the crystal sea;
Nearer the bound of life,
Where we lay our burdens down;
Nearer leaving the cross,
Nearer gaining the crown!
But lying darkly between,
Winding down through the night,
Is the silent, unknown stream,
That leads at last to the light.
Closer and closer my steps
Come to the dread abysm:
Closer Death to my lips
Presses the awful chrism.
Oh, if my mortal feet
Have almost gained the brink;
If it be I am nearer home
Even to-day than I think,
Father, perfect my trust;
Let my spirit feel in death
That her feet are firmly set
On the rock of a living faith!
PICTURES OF MEMORY
_By_ ALICE CARY
Among the beautiful pictures
That hang on Memory's wall
Is one of a dim old forest,
That seemeth best of all;
Not for its gnarled oaks olden,
Dark with the mistletoe;
Nor for the violets golden
That sprinkle the vale below;
Not for the milk-white lilies
That lean from the fragrant ledge,
Coquetting all day with the sunbeams,
And stealing their golden edge;
[Illustration: IN THAT DIM OLD FOREST]
Nor for the vines on the upland,
Where the bright red berries rest,
Nor the pinks, nor the pale sweet cowslip,
It seemeth to me the best.
I once had a little brother,
With eyes that were dark and deep;
In the lap of that old dim forest
He lieth in peace asleep:
Light as the down of the thistle,
Free as the winds that blow,
We roved there the beautiful summers,
The summers of long ago;
But his feet on the hills grew weary,
And, one of the autumn eves,
I made for my little brother
A bed of the yellow leaves.
Sweetly his pale arms folded
My neck in a meek embrace,
As the light of immortal beauty
Silently covered his face;
And when the arrows of sunset
Lodged in the tree-tops bright,
He fell, in his saint-like beauty,
Asleep by the gates of light.
Therefore, of all the pictures
That hang on Memory's wall,
The one of the dim old forest
Seemeth the best of all.
THE ESCAPE FROM PRISON
[Footnote: This selection is taken from _Cast Up By the Sea_. Paul
Grey, smuggler, and owner of a trim little smuggling boat, the _Polly_,
has come to the French coast to meet his French confederate, Captain
Dupuis. He expects merely to exchange cargoes, as he has done in the
past, and to run back, avoiding revenue cruisers; but Captain Dupuis,
who owes Captain Grey money which he has no desire to pay, and whose
fingers itch for the prize money to be gained by capturing a smuggler,
sends out in his boat a pilot who guides the _Polly_ into a harbor where
a French war vessel waits for her. Dick Stone, Grey's right-hand man,
advises fighting, but Captain Grey sees the uselessness of this and
allows himself and his men to be made prisoners. The selection begins at
_By_ SIR SAMUEL W. BAKER
[Footnote: Sir Samuel W. Baker (1821-1893) was an English traveler and
explorer. Besides _Cast Up by the Sea_, Baker wrote _The Rifle and the
Hound in Ceylon_; _The Albert Nyansa_; _Wild Beasts and their Ways_, and
In an hour after the arrival of the "Polly" in the deceitful port, Paul
and his entire crew were marched through the streets of a French
village, and were drawn up opposite the prison entrance.
Upon their arrival at the gate they were met by the governor and the
principal jailer, who allotted them to various cells in separate
parties. Paul, as their captain, was placed in a superior apartment,
together with Dick Stone, whom he had requested might be permitted to
As the door of the prison had closed upon their admittance to the
court-yard, Paul had noticed a remarkably pretty girl about eighteen
who had fixed her eyes upon him with extreme earnestness. As he was now
led with Dick Stone to the room that they were to occupy he observed
that she accompanied the jailer, and appeared to observe him with great
interest. Taking from his pocket a guinea that was pierced with a hole,
he slipped it into her hand; at the same time laughingly he told her in
a few words of broken French to suspend it as a charm around her neck
to preserve her from everything English.
Instead of receiving it with pleasure, as he had expected, she simply
looked at it with curiosity for an instant, and then, keeping it in her
hand, she asked in her native tongue with intense feeling, "Have you
seen Victor? My dear brother Victor, a prisoner in England?"
"Silly girl," said the jailer, her father, "England is a large place,
and there are too many French prisoners to make it likely that Victor
should be known"; at the same time the feelings of the father yielded
to a vague hope as he looked inquiringly at Paul.
"There are many fine fellows," answered Paul, "who have had the
misfortune to become prisoners of war, but they are all cared for, and
receive every attention in England. When was your brother taken?" he
asked, as he turned to the handsome dark-eyed girl who had just
[Illustration: HE SLIPPED A GUINEA INTO HER HAND]
"A year ago next Christmas," she replied; "and we have only once heard
from him; he was then at a place called Falmouth, but we do not know
where that is."
"Falmouth!" said Paul; "why, I know the place well; with a fair wind
the 'Polly' would make it in a few hours from the spot where I live.
Your brother then is imprisoned only half a day's sail from my house!"
"Oh! what good fortune, _mon Dieu,_" exclaimed the excited girl, as she
clasped her hands in delight, as though the hour of her brother's
deliverance was at hand. "How can we reach him? surely you can help us?"
"Alas! I am also a prisoner," replied Paul. "At this moment my wife is
sorrowing alone in our cottage on the cliff, and she is looking vainly
upon the sea expecting my return. How can I help you? Believe me, if it
were possible, I would." At the recollection of Polly's situation Paul
hastily brushed a tear from his eye with the back of his rough hand,
which instantly awoke the sympathy of the sensitive girl before him.
"Ha! you are married," she exclaimed. "Is she young, and perhaps
"Young enough for me, and handsomer than most women," replied Paul.
At this moment Dick Stone had lighted his pipe, and as he gave two or
three tremendous puffs he screwed his face into a profoundly serio-
comic expression and winked his right eye mysteriously at Paul.
"I know the young man," said Dick, who now joined in the conversation,
and addressed the jailer whom he had been scrutinizing closely; "I saw
him once at the prison in Falmouth. Rather tall?" said Dick, as he
surveyed the six-foot form of the jailer.
"Yes," said the jailer, eagerly, "as tall as I am."
"Black hair?" continued the impassive Dick, as he cast his eyes upon
the raven locks of both father and daughter.
"Yes, as dark as mine," exclaimed the now excited jailer.
"Roman nose?" said Dick, as he looked at the decided form of the
parent's feature that was shared by the handsome girl.
"Precisely so, well arched," replied the father.
"Had not lost an arm?" said Dick.
"No, he had both his arms," said the jailer.
"And his name," said Dick, "was Victor?"
"Victor Dior�!" exclaimed the jailer's daughter.
"Precisely so--that's the man," replied the stoical Dick Stone; "that's
the man. I know'd him soon after he was captured; and I believe he's
now in Falmouth Jail. I'd almost forgotten his name, for you Mounseers
are so badly christened that I can't remember how you're called."
The jailer and his daughter were much affected at this sudden
intelligence; there could be no doubt that their new prisoner had seen
their lost relative, who appeared to be imprisoned not far from Paul's
residence, and their hearts at once warmed toward both the captives.
They were led into a large but rather dark room, scantily furnished,
with two trestle-beds, a table, and a couple of benches.
"We must talk of this again," said Paul to the jailer's daughter;
"perhaps an exchange of prisoners may be arranged at some future time
that may serve us all."
"Yes," added Dick Stone, "I think we can manage it if we're all true
friends; and may I ask your name, my dear? for you're the prettiest
Mounseer that I've ever set eyes on."
"L�ontine," replied the girl.
"Well, Leonteen," continued Dick, "if you'll come and have a chat
sometimes up in this cold-looking room I dare say we'll be able to hit
off some plan that'll make us all agreeable. I've got a secret to tell
you yet, but I don't want to let it out before the old 'un," said Dick,
mysteriously, as he winked his eye at her in masonic style; then,
putting his lips very close to her pretty ear, he whispered, "I can
tell you how to get your brother out of prison; but you must keep it
The door had hardly closed upon the jailer and his daughter, who had
promised to return with breakfast, when Paul turned quickly toward Dick
Stone and exclaimed, "What do you mean, Dick, by such a romance as you
have just composed? Surety all is false; you never met the French
prisoner at Falmouth?"
"Well," replied Dick, "may be I didn't; but perhaps I did. Who knows?--
You see, captain, all's fair in love or war, and it struck me that it's
as well to make friends as enemies; now you see we've made friends all
at once by a little romance. You see the Mounseers are very purlite
people, and so it's better to be purlite when you're in France. You see
the pretty little French girl says her brother's in jail in Falmouth;
well, I've seen a lot of French prisoners in Falmouth with black hair,
and two arms apiece, and a Roman nose; so very likely I've seen her
brother. Well, you see, if we can make friends with the jailer, we may
p'r'aps get the key of the jail! At all events, it ain't a bad
beginning to make friends with the jailer's daughter before we've had
our first breakfast in the French prison."
As Dick Stone finished speaking he looked out of the narrow grated
window that in the thick stone wall appeared as though it had been
intended for musketry; from this aperture he had a beautiful view of
the bay and the French corvette, near to which the unfortunate "Polly"
was now lying at anchor with the French colors flying at the mizzen.
"Well, that's a bad lookout, I must say," said Dick. "Look here,
captain, there's the 'Polly' looking as trim and as saucy, bless her
heart! as though we were all on board; and there's the ugly French flag
flying, and she don't seem to care more about it than a woman with new
ribbons in her bonnet."
Paul looked at his beautiful lugger with bitter feelings. He had sailed
in her for many years, and she had become like a member of his family.
Although fifteen years old, she had been built of such well-seasoned
timber, and had been kept in such excellent repair, that she was better
than most vessels of half her age, and he sighed as he now saw her at
anchor with the French flag fluttering at her masthead. For a long time
he gazed intently upon her without speaking a word; at length he turned
sharply 'round, and in a quick, determined voice, he said, "Dick, I'll
never live to see the 'Polly' disgraced. If you'll stick by me, Dick,
we'll retake her yet, or die!"
For some moments Dick Stone stared Paul carelessly in the face without
a reply; he then tapped the bowl of his empty pipe upon the prison
wall, and carefully refilling it with tobacco, he once more, lighted
it, and puffed for about a minute in perfect silence; he then spoke,
after emitting a dense volume of smoke.
"If I'll stick to you, captain? Well, p'r'aps I never have, and p'r'aps
Dick Stone's a coward? Well, you see, of course I'll stick to yer; but
there's other things to be thought of. What's your plan, captain? It's
of no use doing anything without thinking well first. Now if you'll
tell me what you mean I'll have a little smoke, just half a pipe, and
I'll tell you my opinion."
"My plans are not absolutely defined," said Paul, "but I think that by
making friends with the jailer's daughter we may induce her to risk
much in the endeavor to rescue her brother. We might prevail upon her
to assist in our escape--she might even accompany us to England. Could
we only free ourselves from these prison walls on a dark night, when